When I was working as an actor a few years ago, I booked the lead in a commercial for a CBD gum company. Picture this: a woman and her “husband” on the track at a local high school, chatting happily while taking laps. All of a sudden, the woman — me — has to stop jogging because of debilitating knee pain. Her happy, helpful husband pulls from his pocket a pack of CBD gum. 

The woman is, of course, skeptical at first, but decides to try a piece. She expresses to the camera its minty fresh flavor, and two seconds later — TADA! She’s jogging again, miraculously cured by one piece of CBD gum. 

In reality, the gum tasted terrible. After chewing several pieces over the several-hour shoot I had nothing but a headache. Granted, this was pre-CBD boom time and CBD gum was a practically unheard-of niche product. A few years later, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid has undergone growth seen by few industries, and is expected to expand to a global market worth $23.6 billion by 2025.

Today, CBD is showing up in nearly everything, from beer to coffee, from mocktails to topicals, and now, increasingly, gum. So, what’s the deal? Could CBD gum be an effective way to consume and receive the anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and other benefits of CBD? 

What does CBD gum do??

Dr. Michele Ross is a former neuroscientist turned plant medicine expert, whose books include CBD Oil for Health: 100 Benefits and Vitamin Weed: a 4-Step Plan. Ross said that on a practical level, CBD gum could freshen breath, enhance oral health, and may help reduce appetite and burn more calories than non-gum chewers. 

Your basic stick of sugar-free gum, however, doesn’t come with that extra CBD punch. “What’s different about CBD gum is how it’s absorbed. When you eat it [CBD] as a capsule or gummy, it’s getting digested and broken down through the liver,” said Ross. “When you eat it as gum, you’re releasing it through your cheek, so it’s getting absorbed sublingually and submucosally. It’s going directly into the bloodstream. When they say this is highly bioavailable, it actually is.”

That bioavailability could help increase CBD levels in the bloodstream, which may help promote relaxation and reduce stress. 

However, the lack of federal oversight for the CBD industry leaves an opening for confusion about dosing and ingredients, and some companies seem to conflate hemp oil and CBD oil. Hemp oil — which is highly nutritious and beneficial for overall health — is extracted from the seeds of the cannabis plant. CBD, lauded for its anti-inflammatory, antianxiety, and ameliorative effects, is extracted from the flower, stalk and stem of the plant. 

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While they come from the same species of plant, they are not the same thing. Fifty milligrams of hemp oil per serving is very different from seven milligrams of CBD oil per serving, while still costing roughly the same amount, around $15-20 per pack.

Ross points out that hemp is a bioremediator, meaning that it pulls contaminants, pollution, and other toxins from the air, water, and soil and stores it in its stalk. Essentially, any CBD is only as good as the ground it is grown in. 

When choosing a CBD gum (or any CBD for that matter), Ross said there are several questions you should ask before purchasing. “Is it safe? Does it have heavy metal testing? Where does the CBD come from? If you are chewing enough gum with contaminants in it, it’s going straight into your bloodstream. In reality, you are being exposed to whatever is in that product when you chew it.” 

Does CBD gum work?

Tobacco cessation product Nicorette is a perfect example of how a gum can be used for more than just blowing bubbles and work in a practical, medicinal way. “Nicorette gum is a prescription medicine, and CBD gum is, I’m sure, being explored as a medication,” said Ross. “It’s a valid route of administration. It’s all about dosing, and [asking], where does the CBD in that product come from?”

Ross said that depending on the dose available in each piece of gum, and your particular level of physiological need, CBD gum could be thought of in the same way as ingesting a CBD gummy or capsule. “If you’re anxious, CBD gum might help you feel relaxed, or feel calm. If you’re run down, stressed out, burned out, you might feel a bit better. If you are not stressed out, not in pain, and you’re a healthy person, you might not feel anything,” she added. 

What sets CBD gum apart from something like a CBD tincture or edible is the positive role it could play in oral health overall. Ross points to some research showing that the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD could be the next ingredient in toothpaste or mouthwash to help people combat gum diseases like periodontitis or gingivitis. “Some people, unfortunately, have a lot of oral health problems, for those consumers, I would definitely suggest CBD gum.” 

3 CBD gums to try 

There are a lot of CBD gum products out there, so to narrow the search, we’ve zeroed in products that make their third-party lab results easily accessible, are customer-friendly, and are a good quality product and value for the price. 

Find CBD gum products

Endoca CBD Chewing Gum

This environmentally friendly company is differentiating itself from other companies in the space by avoiding the non-biodegradable polymers contained in other products. Endoca CBD Chewing Gum is 100 percent biodegradable and has no artificial colors or preservatives. It’s organic, gluten-free, vegan and GMO-free, and flavored with essential oils from mint and peppermint. 

Elevate CBD Gum

Containing 5 milligrams of full-spectrum hemp extract per piece, Elevate CBD Gum is available in an 8 ounce tin or 20-serving bottle. Using hemp sourced from growers in the northeast region of the US, it is gluten-free, vegan, and lab-tested for potency, purity, quality, and safety. 

MedCBDX CBD-Infused Chewing Gum

With about 10 milligrams of CBD from CO2 extracted hemp oil, MedCBDX CBD-Infused Chewing Gum is available in blister packs of eight and is mint flavored. At $17.99 per package, it seems to be on par with their counterparts, with an extra emphasis on bioavailability. What’s interesting about this company is that they will work with businesses to help them develop their own brand of CBD gum. 

Feature image by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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